GARHI KHUDA BAKHSH: Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto on Wednesday held former military dictator Pervez Musharraf responsible for the assassination of his mother Benazir Bhutto.Addressing a huge crowd of PPP supporters in Garhi Khuda Bukhsh who had gathered to commemorate Benazir Bhutto’s 10th death anniversary, the PPP chairman said Musharraf exploited the entire situation to assassinate his mother by purposely sabotaging her security so that she is assassinated and taken off the scene. “The man who pulled her security — rather than the man who pulled the trigger —is responsible for Benazir’s death,” Bilawal said, as he cried, “Qaatil! Qaatil! Musharraf qatil!”The PPP chairman said that Musharraf directly threatened late Benazir Bhutto and told her that her security was based on the state of relationship with him. On the day of her assassination, the security cordon was taken off from her by the former military ruler, he told his supporters, and added that Benazir was punished for propagating democracy and for her deep love for the people. “My leader [Benazir], you were punished for fighting against dictatorship and presenting Islam’s peaceful face to the world,” Bilawal said. “You were punished for fighting for women and speaking for the oppressed. You were punished for loving the people,” he added.“Oh my leader, today the country is burning in the fire of terrorism and the eastern and western frontiers are insecure … Pakistan is remembering you when entire country has been engulfed in terrorism,” Bilawal said, while addressing her mother.“Oh my leader, the rulers have damaged the sanctity of parliament and democracy … country has been trapped in heavy burden of debts … peasants and labourers are being economically murdered … schools and worship places have also become insecure,” he continued.Bilawal turned emotional during the speech and said in a sad tune, “Oh my great leader, I assure you that we will revive the lost glory of democracy and will strengthen … I promise with you that I will bring the caravans of victory to Garhi Khuda Bukhsh from across country after the next election.”“I am firmly holding the hand of the people which had been given to you by my grandfather and I pledge that I will never distract from your path,” Bilawal said, while addressing his late mother. Bilawal claimed that despite their rivals’ best efforts to spoil her good work, the present-day PPP is working hard to continue her legacy. “The 1973 Constitution, whose face was distorted by dictators, has been restored to its original form. You used to be upset at poverty, so we started the Benazir Income Support Programme. We also allotted state land to poor farmers. We have built heart, kidney and liver hospitals everywhere, and treatment there is free of cost. You cared about the environment so we also started wind energy plants in Sindh. We’ve built dams to store water.” Bilawal also accused the incumbent government of undoing Benazir’s legacy, saying, “They’ve weakened the democracy and parliament. Small provinces are being isolated from the federal government. This is a murderous government.” He also attached some blame of his mother’s unresolved murder case on the judiciary, saying, “The judiciary for whom you [Benazir] struggled, the same judiciary hasn’t given us, you, the victims of terror and missing persons any justice.” “O custodians of justice, please give justice to someone,” he said.Paying rich tribute to former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, PPP Co-chairman Asif Zardari said Benazir was a visionary leader whose legacy would live on for generations.He said Benazir bravely confronted the forces of darkness and the dictatorial regimes. “Eventually, she embraced martyrdom while fighting for the rights of the masses,” he added.Enumerating the projects that PPP undertook under his presidency, Zardari said the projects were envisioned by Benazir.Referring to PML-N’s ‘grievances’, Zardari said the party had always issues with the PPP. “We will not support you this time, as time and again you have backstabbed us,” he asserted.He deplored the ‘double standards’ of justice in the country, saying, “We spent 12 years in jail and you [Nawaz Sharif] attained freedom after spending only 12 days in the jail.”On the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), the former president said his party would not make any compromise for another NRO.Zardari warned his rivals that even though he tries not to indulge in the politics of vengeance, he too has his limits.“There is a conspiracy still going on,” he claimed. “The conspiracy is still hatching new eggs – but our philosophy teaches patience.“We have been patient, but I warn our rivals: don’t push us to our limits. You have always back-stabbed us but we will not side with you this time.“We will win the elections this time. I will not forgive them. I will defeat them from Kashmir to Gilgit-Baltistan,” he said.On Dec 27 in 2007, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated soon after she finished an election rally at Liaquat Bagh in garrison city of Rawalpindi.Ten years down the road, the prime suspects behind her assassination have not been brought to book yet. Of late, an anti-terrorism court acquitted five suspects and awarded imprisonment of 17 years to two police officers – Saud Aziz and Khurram Shahzad – in the assassination of the slain PPP leader.Later, a division bench of the Lahore High Court suspended the conviction of the two officers and released them on bail against a surety of Rs 1 million each.Published in Daily Times, December 28th 2017.